John Jenkinson

Grandfather's Republic

The south wind holds him like a raw-boned girl,
burns his ears, then slaps his gaunt cheeks red
and drops him, a ragged, thatch-haired scarecrow propped
where nothing tempts the birds, where low hills thrust
their flint outcroppings through the tangled grama.
He’s choked his hard way back to eastern Kansas

from the war, and finds the landscape nothing
like France with its steel-pocked air, the yellow gas

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